The Plot Thickens

Hi, I’m Karen Meadows. Thank you for visiting The Plot Thickens.

I’m lucky enough to be the tenant of one of fifty large allotment gardens in the middle of the small and beautiful stone town of Stamford in England’s East Midlands. The gardens were first created by Brownlow Cecil, 4th Marquess of Exeter in the mid 1800s and their layout has remained virtually unchanged. Between the plots we have some 200 old apple trees, many of them rare varieties, and in 2017 Natural England awarded the gardens heritage orchard status.

Over the centuries at least 500 people have worked these plots. Follow our quest to discover who they were, what they grew, and what shenanigans they got up to. Be prepared for numerous diversions and musings along the way about gardening life here in our quiet (and occasionally not so quiet) little corner of Stamford.

If you haven’t discovered our website yet, do head over to Waterfurlong Orchard Gardens, where you will find a wealth of information about our gardens and gardeners, past and present.

And now for the small print...

The Plot Thickens is a non-commercial blog. All recommendations are based on personal preference and my own or our other gardeners’ own experience. Payments or free goods are not accepted in return for reviews of products and services. If an exception is made this will be clearly stated.

All words and images, unless otherwise credited, are my own. If you would like to copy text or images, I’d kindly ask that The Plot Thickens gets a positive mention and a link back to this blog.

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Stargazing: Cassiopeia The Queen

October 8, 2018

 

 

Tonight or any autumn evening look for the constellation Cassiopeia the Queen lighting up the northeast sky. As night deepens Cassiopeia swings above Polaris, the North Star, and by dawn she is found in the northwest.

 

Cassiopeia has the distinctive shape of a W or an M depending on the time you see her and is circumpolar (visible all night throughout the year).  She was first catalogued by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy in the 2nd century AD and comprises some of our brightest stars, including Schedar, Caph, Gamma Cassiopeiae, Ruchbah, and Segin. A rich section of the Milky Way runs through Cassiopeia containing several notable deep-sky objects, including the Heart Nebula, the Soul Nebula, the Pacman Nebula and the White Rose Cluster.

 

 

 

According to Greek mythology Cassiopeia was an Ethiopian queen who claimed to be more beautiful than the sea-nymphs known as Nereids. Cassiopeia's boast angered Poseidon who sent the sea monster Cetus to ravage her kingdom. To pacify Cetus Cassiopeia's daughter, Andromeda, was tied to a rock by the sea for him to devour. Fortunately, Perseus arrived on his flying horse, Pegasus, and scooped Andromeda up first to safety and then to wedlock. The gods showed their pleasure by elevating all the characters to the heavens.

 

However, Cassiopeia's vanity had to be paid for. She was forced to wheel around the North Celestial Pole spending half her time clinging to her throne so she does not drop into the ocean below, where the Nereids are still waiting. Whilst at nightfall we see Cassiopeia in the shape of an M, reclining on her starry throne, in the early hours of the morning and during late winter her chair dips below the celestial pole and appears more like the letter W. It is then that the Lady of the Chair, as Cassiopeia is sometimes called, is said to hang on for dear life. 

 

 

TO LEARN MORE

 

Visit www.earthsky.org or www.constellation-guide.com 

 

 

 

Copyright © Karen Meadows 2018

 

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